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AMD Radeon RX 480 CrossFire Performance Comparison

AMD Radeon RX 480 CrossFire Performance Comparison

You have seen our Radeon RX 480 review, so today, we are going to take a look at its CrossFire performance. For the uninitiated, that’s two Radeon RX 480 graphics cards running together.

You may recall that when Chief Architect of the Radeon Technologies Group, Raja Koduri, first revealed the Radeon RX 480, he made a startling claim that two Radeon RX 480 cards only utilized 51% of their processing capabilities to beat the GeForce GTX 1080 graphics card.

That was later clarified by Robert Hallock as a CPU-limited result. He also revealed that two Radeon RX 480 cards will deliver 83% better performance than a single Radeon RX 480 card.

Today, we are going to check out those claims in a variety of benchmarks and games. Let’s get down to it!

 

The Graphics Cards

Specifications Radeon R9 380 Radeon RX 480 GeForce GTX 1060 GeForce GTX 980 Ti GeForce GTX 1070 Radeon RX 480 CrossFire
Textures Per Clock 112 144 80 176 120 288
Pixels Per Clock 32 32 48 96 64 64
Clock Speed 970 MHz 1120 – 1266 MHz 1506 – 1708 MHz 1000 – 1075 MHz 1506 – 1683 MHz 1120 – 1266 MHz
Texture Fill Rate 108.6 GT/s 161.3 – 182.3 GT/s 120.5 – 136.6 GT/s 176.0 – 189.2 GT/s 180.7 – 202.0 GT/s 322.6 – 364.6 GT/s
Pixel Fill Rate 31.0 GP/s 35.8 – 40.5 GP/s 72.3 – 82.0 GP/s 96.0 – 104.5 GP/s 96.4 – 107.7 GP/s 71.7 – 81.0 GP/s
Graphics Memory 4 GB GDDR5 8 GB GDDR5 6 GB GDDR5 6 GB GDDR5 8 GB GDDR5 16 GB GDDR5

(8 GB effective)

Memory Bus Width 256-bits 256-bits 192-bits 384-bits 256-bits 256-bits x 2
Memory Speed 1425 MHz 1750 MHz 2000 MHz 1752.5 MHz 2000 MHz 1750 MHz
Memory Bandwidth 182.4 GB/s 224.0 GB/s 192.0 GB/s 336.5 GB/s 256.0 GB/s 448.0 GB/s
TDP 190 W 150 W 120 W 250 W 150 W 300 W
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Benchmarking Notes

Our graphics benchmarking test bed has the following specifications :

Operating SystemMicrosoft Windows 10 64-bit

ProcessorIntel Core i7 6700K processor running at 4.0 GHz

MotherboardASRock Z170 Extreme4

Memory8 GB DDR4-2133 memory (dual-channel)

Storage240 GB HyperX Savage SSD

MonitorDell P2415Q Ultra HD Monitor

We used the GeForce driver version 372.54 for all three NVIDIA graphics cards used in our tests.

We used the Radeon Software 16.8.2 driver for the AMD graphics cards used in our tests. In addition, we enabled the Compatibility Mode for the Radeon RX 480 cards to ensure that they keep to their rated 150 W TDP.

Next Page > 3DMark DirectX 12 and DirectX 11 Benchmark Results

 

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3DMark DirectX 12 Benchmark (2560 x 1440)

3DMark Time Spy is a new DirectX 12 benchmark that was released just days ago, just in time for this review. It supports new API features like asynchronous compute, explicit multi-adapter, and multi-threading.

In this DirectX 12 benchmark, the Radeon RX 480 CrossFire was 93% faster than the single Radeon RX 480. Very impressive. This allows the Radeon RX 480 CrossFire to beat the GeForce GTX 1070 by 33%. This gives the Radeon RX 480 CrossFire a slight (5.7%) price-performance advantage over the GeForce GTX 1070, albeit at twice the power consumption.

 

3DMark (1920 x 1080)

For Direct 11 performance, we started testing the graphics cards using 3DMark at the most common gaming resolution – 1920 x 1080.

At this relatively CPU-limited test, the Radeon RX 480 CrossFire was 95% faster than the single Radeon RX 480. It was also 31%-35% faster than the GeForce GTX 1070, 79-86% faster than the GeForce GTX 1060.

Note that the Radeon RX 480 CrossFire ended up about 12% slower than both the GeForce GTX 1070 and the GeForce GTX 980 Ti in the Combined Test, probably because it was CPU-limited.

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3DMark (2560 x 1440)

Then we took 3DMark up a notch to the resolution of 2560 x 1440. Let’s take a look!

As the higher 1440p resolution, the Radeon RX 480 CrossFire was 96% faster than the single Radeon RX 480. However, its performance advantage over the GeForce GTX 1070 and GeForce GTX 1060 dropped to 27% and 74% respectively.

At this point, the Radeon RX 480 CrossFire loses its price-performance advantage over the GeForce GTX 1070. However, it still maintains a comfortable price-performance advantage over the GeForce GTX 1080.

 

3DMark (3840 x 2160)

This is a torture test, perfect for comparing the GeForce GTX 1070 and the Radeon RX 480 CrossFire.

At the 4K resolution, the Radeon RX 480 CrossFire was 23% faster than the GeForce GTX 1070, and 73% faster than the GeForce GTX 1060. If we had a GeForce GTX 1080, the Radeon RX 480 CrossFire would likely be slightly faster, with a significant price-performance advantage, albeit with significantly higher power consumption.

Next Page > Ashes of the Singularity, Total War: Warhammer Benchmark Results

 

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Ashes of the Singularity FAILED!

We tested Ashes of the Singularity in the DirectX 12 mode, which not only supports the new Asynchronous Compute feature, but is necessary to support the CrossFire mode for the two Radeon RX 480 cards.

Unfortunately, Ashes of the Singularity kept crashing whenever multi-GPU mode was enabled. There was simply no way to get it to run reliably, even though we tried 3 different driver versions.

As our GeForce GTX 1070 review shows, we have no issues running it with single graphics cards from both AMD and NVIDIA. It only failed when multi-GPU support was enabled. We will update this section when we finally get CrossFire mode running on Ashes of the Singularity.

 

Warhammer (1920 x 1080)

This chart shows you the minimum and maximum frame rates, as well as the average frame rate, recorded by Total War : Warhammer‘s internal DirectX 12 benchmark.

Looks like CrossFire isn’t working in Total War : Warhammer. The Radeon RX 480 CrossFire was actually 6.5% slower than the single Radeon RX 480 graphics card. It was just slightly faster than the GeForce GTX 1060.

 

Warhammer (2560 x 1440)

This chart shows you the minimum and maximum frame rates, as well as the average frame rate, recorded by Total War : Warhammer‘s internal DirectX 12 benchmark.

At the higher 1440p resolution, the Radeon RX 480 CrossFire was 7.7% slower than the single Radeon RX 480 graphics card, and 3.7% slower than the GeForce GTX 1060.

 

Warhammer (3840 x 2160)

This chart shows you the minimum and maximum frame rates, as well as the average frame rate, recorded by Total War : Warhammer‘s internal DirectX 12 benchmark.

At the 4K resolution, the Radeon RX 480 CrossFire was 4.9% slower than the single Radeon RX 480 graphics card, and 6.9% slower than the GeForce GTX 1060. It would definitely be a good idea to disable CrossFire mode when you play Total War : Warhammer.

Next Page > The Witcher 3 and Fallout 4 Benchmark Results

 

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The Witcher 3 (1920 x 1080)

This chart shows you the minimum and maximum frame rates, as well as the average frame rate, that FRAPS recorded in The Witcher 3.

The CrossFire mode worked in The Witcher 3 though. The Radeon RX 480 CrossFire achieved an average frame rate in excess of 100 fps. That makes its 59% faster than the single Radeon RX 480 graphics card, 49.6% faster than the GeForce GTX 1060, and 5% faster than the GeForce GTX 1070.

 

The Witcher 3 (2560 x 1440)

This chart shows you the minimum and maximum frame rates, as well as the average frame rate, that FRAPS recorded in The Witcher 3.

The Radeon RX 480 CrossFire maintained its performance lead at the 1440p resolution. It was 59% faster than the single Radeon RX 480 graphics card, 47.8% faster than the GeForce GTX 1060, and 5.6% faster than the GeForce GTX 1070.

 

The Witcher 3 (3840 x 2160)

This chart shows you the minimum and maximum frame rates, as well as the average frame rate, that FRAPS recorded in The Witcher 3.

The Radeon RX 480 CrossFire increased its performance lead at the 4K resolution. It was now 64.4% faster than the single Radeon RX 480 graphics card, 52.3% faster than the GeForce GTX 1060, and 8.9% faster than the GeForce GTX 1070.

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Fallout 4 (1920 x 1080)

This chart shows you the minimum and maximum frame rates, as well as the average frame rate, that FRAPS recorded in Fallout 4.

CrossFire did not work in Fallout 4, at least not in 1080p. The Radeon RX 480 CrossFire was actually 2.7% slower than the single Radeon RX 480 graphics card, and 16% slower than the GeForce GTX 1060.

 

Fallout 4 (2560 x 1440)

This chart shows you the minimum and maximum frame rates, as well as the average frame rate, that FRAPS recorded in Fallout 4.

At the higher 1440p resolution, the CrossFire mode finally kicked in. The Radeon RX 480 CrossFire actually became 24% faster than the single Radeon RX 480 graphics card, and 9.6% faster than the GeForce GTX 1060.

 

Fallout 4 (3840 x 2160)

This chart shows you the minimum and maximum frame rates, as well as the average frame rate, that FRAPS recorded in Fallout 4.

Amazingly, when we hit 4K, the CrossFire mode really showed its mettle. The Radeon RX 480 CrossFire was now 62% faster than the single Radeon RX 480 graphics card, and 43.2% faster than the GeForce GTX 1060.

The Radeon RX 480 CrossFire even edged out the GeForce GTX 1070, and beat the GeForce GTX 980 Ti by 8.7%.

Next Page > Radeon RX 480 CrossFire Performance Summary, Our Opinion

 

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Performance Summary

Here is a summary of our benchmark results. We highlighted the benchmarks in which the CrossFire mode worked (in green), and when it didn’t work (in red).

Benchmarks Radeon R9 380 Radeon RX 480 GeForce GTX 1060 GeForce GTX 980 Ti GeForce GTX 1070 Radeon RX 480 CrossFire
Time Spy (1440p) Slower by 65.1% Slower by 48.2% Slower by 45.8% Slower by 36.5% Slower by 24.8% Baseline
Fire Strike (1080p) Slower by 64.0% Slower by 48.8% Slower by 45.2% Slower by 28.7% Slower by 25.1% Baseline
Fire Strike Extreme (1440p) Slower by 63.4% Slower by 49.0% Slower by 42.4% Slower by 25.1% Slower by 21.2% Baseline
Fire Strike Ultra (2160p) Slower by 61.2% Slower by 48.3% Slower by 42.1% Slower by 22.5% Slower by 18.8% Baseline
Ashes of the Singularity Failed
Total War: Warhammer (1080p) Slower by 26.1% Faster by 7.0% Slower by 0.5% Faster by 30.7% Faster by 36.1% Baseline
Total War: Warhammer (1440p) Slower by 26.4% Faster by 8.4% Faster by 3.9% Faster by 40.3% Faster by 43.8% Baseline
Total War: Warhammer (2160p) Slower by 29.4% Faster by 5.1% Faster by 7.5% Faster by 48.6% Faster by 51.0% Baseline
The Witcher 3 (1080p) Slower by 57.6% Slower by 37.2% Slower by 33.1% Slower by 8.0% Slower by 4.8% Baseline
The Witcher 3 (1440p) Slower by 57.0% Slower by 37.2% Slower by 33.1% Slower by 7.8% Slower by 5.3% Baseline
The Witcher 3 (2160p) Slower by 57.5% Slower by 39.2% Slower by 34.4% Slower by 10.2% Slower by 8.1% Baseline
Fallout 4 (1080p) Slower by 20.5% Faster by 2.8% Faster by 19.1% Faster by 27.8% Faster by 29.6% Baseline
Fallout 4 (1440p) Slower by 41.7% Slower by 19.6% Slower by 8.7% Faster by 16.7% Faster by 22.6% Baseline
Fallout 4 (2160p) Slower by 54.3% Slower by 38.1% Slower by 30.2% Slower by 8.0% Slower by 1.1% Baseline

 

Our Opinion

The Radeon RX 480 CrossFire showed great promise in the 3DMark benchmarks. It was able to deliver 93% to 96% better performance than a single Radeon RX 480 graphics card.

The actual boost in frame rate was smaller, of course, due to CPU limits. But it proved to be faster than the GeForce GTX 1070 by 15% to 18% in DirectX 11, and 26% in DirectX 12. Very impressive.

Unfortunately, we do not have an NVIDIA GeForce GTX 1080 in our benchmark suite, but we know that it is roughly 20%-25% faster than the GeForce GTX 1070. So we can guesstimate that the Radeon RX 480 CrossFire will be slightly faster than the GeForce GTX 1080 in DirectX 12, and slightly slower in DirectX 11.

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From a price-performance perspective, the Radeon RX 480 CrossFire ties with the GeForce GTX 1070, if we only take into account the 3DMark results. It loses out to the GeForce GTX 1070 when it comes to actual games, particularly in games that don’t work well or at all with CrossFire.

As you can tell from the table above, the reliability of the CrossFire mode is still quite iffy. That is really too bad, because the 3DMark results show that the Radeon RX 480 CrossFire has great potential, particularly in DirectX 12.

If AMD can get the CrossFire mode to work in all games, the Radeon RX 480 CrossFire is a great alternative to the GeForce GTX 1080. It offers equivalent performance at a 20% discount (US$478 vs. US$599), albeit with much higher power consumption (300W vs. 180W).

 

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Razer Core Pre-Orders Start Today

IRVINE, Calif. – Razer today announced pricing, availability and compatibility of its 2016 “Best of CES” award-winning Razer Core. The device is the world’s first plug-and-play Thunderbolt 3 external graphics enclosure that debuted earlier this year in tandem with the Razer Blade Stealth Ultrabook, itself an official “Best PC” and “People’s Choice” CES winner.

“Razer continues to innovate in the laptops category where big systems brands either cannot or will not,” says Min-Liang Tan, Razer co-founder and CEO. “This time, in collaboration with industry leaders, we’ve created the world’s first external graphics card solution of its kind, bringing the GPU power of a desktop PC to the latest Razer laptops, such as the Razer Blade Stealth Ultrabook, through a single Thunderbolt 3 connection with plug-and-play convenience.”

“All consumers, non-gamers and gamers alike, now can easily migrate from their Razer laptop for on-the-go performance to driving a full desktop experience using Razer Core, including enhanced graphics and simple connectivity to peripherals.”

The graphics enclosure supports a single double-wide, full-length, PCI-Express x16 graphics card. Qualified AMD Radeon graphics cards are available for use with the Razer Core. At launch of the Razer Core, NVIDIA will support GeForce GTX GPUs, including the entire lineup of Maxwell GPUs, such as the best-selling GTX 970. The Razer Core will be compatible with Razer’s latest systems including the Blade Stealth Ultrabook, and the new Razer Blade 14-inch gaming laptop in the near future.

The Razer Core will be available for pre-order starting today and will ship starting in April. The MSRP for Razer Core is $399 with the purchase of a compatible Razer notebook or $499 if purchased separately. Current registered owners of the Blade Stealth will receive the discounted price.

A single Thunderbolt 3 (USB-C) cable provides ample bandwidth and is all it takes to connect compatible Razer systems with the Razer Core. With the Razer Blade Stealth, the Razer Core also provides power to the notebook, charging the internal battery. Whether a laptop user is interested in gaming or editing 4K video with external desktop graphics performance, Thunderbolt 3 is the all-in-one connection that can make it possible with select Razer systems like the Blade Stealth and Razer Core.

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“Thunderbolt 3 brings Thunderbolt to USB-C at speeds up to 40 Gbps, creating one compact port that does it all,” said Jason Ziller, director of Thunderbolt Marketing, Intel. “Thanks to technical collaboration between Intel, Razer and the Radeon Technologies group at AMD, Razer Core is the first plug-and-play external graphics solution that transforms the Razer Blade Stealth Ultrabook into a desktop-like gaming experience”

The Razer Blade Stealth and Razer Core are the first products to ship that support AMD XConnect technology, which when configured with a qualified Radeon graphics card ensures seamless switching between discrete and integrated Intel HD graphics for a true plug-and-play user experience.

“We believe powerful external GPUs are thrilling for gamers that have longed to connect serious gaming performance to an ultrathin notebook,” said Ravi Gananathan, Director, MNC Graphics, AMD. “With the advent of AMD XConnect technology, that dream is a simple and intuitive reality. Together, the Razer Core and AMD XConnect for Radeon graphics are the ultimate intersection of performance, simplicity and design.”

Physical installation of a graphics card into the Razer Core requires no tools. Its durable aluminum housing slides open elegantly, and a single included thumb-screw secures the graphics card in place. Razer’s solution helps future-proof systems, as graphics cards are easily swappable as new components become available. Traditional laptop designs with fixed internal processors could not easily allow for upgrading graphics capabilities over time, if at all.

Bringing desktop-level graphics and display connectivity to a notebook is only part of this innovative solution from Razer. The Razer Core also contains four additional USB 3.0 ports and Ethernet connectivity, and it has two-zone lighting technology Powered by Razer Chroma. It is now easier than ever to transform a thin and light notebook into a complete desktop experience.

Razer Core can accommodate graphics cards that draw a maximum of 375 W and no larger than 12.20 inches x 5.98 inches x 1.73 inches (310 mm x 152 mm x 44 mm). Plug-and-play support varies according to graphics chipset and notebook model. Interested parties may go to the Razer website for full details. Compatible graphics cards are sold separately.

Qualified AMD Radeon graphics cards (AMD XConnect supported with Blade Stealth):

  • AMD Radeon  R9 Fury
  • AMD Radeon  R9 Nano
  • AMD Radeon  R9 300 Series
  • AMD Radeon  R9 300 Series
  • AMD Radeon  R9 290
  • AMD Radeon R9 280

Supported NVIDIA GeForce graphics cards (at launch):

  • NVIDIA GeForce GTX Titan X
  • NVIDIA GeForce GTX 980 Ti
  • NVIDIA GeForce GTX 980
  • NVIDIA GeForce GTX 970
  • NVIDIA GeForce GTX 960
  • NVIDIA GeForce GTX 950
  • NVIDIA GeForce GTX 750 Ti
  • NVIDIA GeForce GTX 750

Compatible Razer notebook models:

  • Razer Blade Stealth
  • Razer Blade (w/ Thunderbolt 3) in the near future

 

Razer Core Price & Availability

U.S. $399 – when purchased with compatible Razer notebook
U.S. $499
Razerzone.com – Pre-order March 16th, shipping in April

 

Razer Core Specifications

Connection to PC: Thunderbolt 3 using included 40 Gbps cable

GPU Support: graphics card sold separately

  • GPU Type: (1) double-wide, full-length PCI-Express x16 graphics card
  • GPU Max Dimensions: 12.20” x 5.98” x 1.73” (310 x 152 x 44 mm)
  • GPU Max Power Support: 375 W
  • Graphics Output: Based on capabilities of installed graphics card

Input & Output:

  • USB 3.0 x 4
  • Gigabit Ethernet 10/100/1000
  • Thunderbolt 3 (for connection to PC)

Lighting: Powered by Razer Chroma – 2 zones

Power Supply: 500 W

Approx. Dimensions: 4.13” (104.9 mm) wide x 13.38” (339.9 mm) deep x 8.6” (218.4 mm) high

Approx. Weight: 10.89 lbs. (4.94 kg)

 

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